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Attack on group misleading

Letter to the Editor
Published October 6, 2003

Re: This pier only leads to dissension, story, Aug. 16; Board doesn't respond to residents' concerns, letter by Valerie Hughes, Aug. 25; Allen awakens community, letter by Chris Randall, Aug. 25; Association leaves questions unanswered, letter, Sept. 15.

My family and I have lived in Crystal Beach for 23 years. I have been a volunteer throughout Pinellas County with local and County Council PTSA, the Pinellas County school system and the Crystal Beach Community Association (CBCA). I am writing to clarify the misinformation that has been presented in letters to the editor.

Concerning the Aug. 25 letters, Valerie Hughes and I were in the music booster organization at Palm Harbor University High School. I and several other parents disagreed with the way the booster club monies were spent. If this past disagreement is the reason for her to criticize me and the CBCA now, then shame on her.

For the past 61 years, per the current CBCA bylaws, no board or general meetings are scheduled for June, July, August or September. A special July 31 meeting was called then canceled because most board members were unable to attend. Valerie Hughes' group held its own meeting at a local pub. On Aug. 2, signs appeared throughout our community announcing a "town hall meeting" on Aug. 14 at 7 p.m. at the CBCA hall. No one had requested permission to use the hall. On Aug. 3, the board met to discuss this situation. It was mentioned to the nine members present that this angry group knew where everyone on the board lived.

I was contacted by Robin Bleier on Aug. 4, who claimed to be the voice of their group. After showing her all of the meeting minutes and other documentation, she told me that I had everything in order and that this group had nothing to complain about. The next day, a five-page list of demands was left by my front door. The board decided that it wasn't willing to surrender to these requests.

At an emergency board meeting July 3, called by the first vice president because of continued vandalism and liability concerns regarding the pier, letter writer Chris Randall was escorted into the room by former board member Lindsey Ames. After a vote was taken and Lindsey left the room, Ms. Randall angrily told us she was there to watch us and she planned to attend every meeting we have from here on out, because she heard from the director of the youth center that the association has always done questionable things. When asked if she ever attended the association's general meetings, she answered no. She demanded a copy of the CBCA bylaws be mailed to her. To come into a room of strangers and speak in this fashion was uncalled for and showed a lack of respect.

To answer Ms. Randall's concerns:

The building at 517 Crystal Beach Ave. is owned, operated and maintained by the CBCA. It is not public property. The old bus shelter was removed by Pinellas County; the CBCA did not participate in its removal. The pier was closed by unanimous decision of the board due to safety issues. The liability for the pier rests solely on the CBCA. By the recommendation of a lawyer, insurance company and a county inspector, we had no alternative.

"Ancient" trees? The only tree that the board unanimously voted to remove was a cherry laurel that was inundated with mistletoe, had been struck by lightning, and was causing safety, maintenance and structural concerns. Golf carts have never been a "tradition" in our community. This is not the CBCA's issue to decide. It remains with the county and Sheriff's Office. Twenty-four acts of vandalism to the pier have been documented with the Sheriff's Office.

As for me being ejected from the board of the Crystal Beach Youth Center, I agreed to join the board at the urging of director Roberta Wyandt. I promoted the youth center with the CBCA by adding it to our general meeting agenda on several occasions to promote its work. On Feb. 12 I told Roberta that due to the workload attached to the CBCA, I needed to resign from the youth center board. She said she understood. Feb. 13 I mentioned my resignation to my fellow CBCA board members. Isn't it customary to eject a person from a board with a letter or at least a phone call?

Not caring about children in our community? This could not be further from the truth! I was volunteer of the year at Ozona Elementary School, Tarpon Middle School and Palm Harbor University High. These honors I hold very close to my heart.

Targeted the "beloved marina?" What marina? I have never voted on any issue while president of the CBCA. Please do not accuse the CBCA board members of inappropriate behavior. This is a group of ethical individuals who have done their best.

What is my agenda? To continue to give back, to assure the pier is safe and will be enjoyed by residents for many years to come, to encourage participation in association activities, and to pick up the newspaper and once again read positive news about Crystal Beach.

People of Crystal Beach: Please attend the CBCA general meeting Tuesday. All documentation will be readily available for viewing.

-- Anne Allen, president Crystal Beach Community Association
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